The automaker revealed the vehicle at 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday night during an elaborate presentation at the company’s world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The company’s shares jumped 3.3% in Thursday morning trading.
“The response has been great,” Farley said during an interview on “Squawk Box.” “With 20,000 orders already, we’re off to the races.”
The reservations are being closely watched by the company as well as investors to gauge the interest of customers in EV pickups, which is an unproven segment that automakers are rushing to enter. They include Tesla, General Motors and several start-ups such as Rivian, Lordstown Motors and Canoo.
Ford’s strong reservations for the F-150 Lightning are not unique. Two days after unveiling the Tesla Cybertruck in November 2019, CEO Elon Musk tweeted the company had taken 146,000 reservations for the steel trapezoid-shaped pickup.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said the F-150 Lightning will be a test as to whether mainstream Americans truly want electric vehicles.
“I am looking at this vehicle as a test for adoption for electric vehicles,” Farley told reporters at the vehicle’s unveiling Wednesday night. “We should all watch very carefully how this does in the market.”
Ford’s F-Series pickups have been the best-selling truck in the U.S. since the mid-1970s.
The wildly popular truck has reigned supreme for 44 years, including 39 years as the best-selling vehicle overall in the U.S. The significance of the truck to Ford can’t be overstated. F-Series, which includes the F-150 and large truck siblings, is the automaker’s profit engine.
Ford is taking reservations for the vehicle on its website. A refundable $100 deposit is required.
Ford Motor Company’s chief executive officer Jim Farley poses next to the newly unveiled electric F-150 Lightning outside of their headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan on May 19, 2021.
Jeff Kowalsky | AFP | Getty Images